What is Staff Augmentation? Here’s What You Need to Know to Succeed in it

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Olga Demidenko
Author, Geomotiv
Published: Dec 29, 2021

The sooner you hire a new developer for the project, the more chances you have to outperform your closest competitor and release a new feature that will rock the market. The right specialist can become a secret weapon in achieving business goals that you would otherwise not succeed.

But with the changes introduced by the Covid-19 pandemic, the average time-to-hire has increased and become a headache. It bothers large and small companies alike and makes them search for credible alternatives to IT staffing agencies and hiring in-house. 

One of them is IT staff augmentation and actionable tactics to overcome the challenges of hiring permanent resources. Let’s discuss this form of cooperation with remote development teams and discover which benefits it helps reap for the client. But first, let’s overview what the IT hiring market looked like in 2021.

The State of IT Hiring Market

The state of things in the IT job market continues to resemble the pre-pandemic situation. However, as the tech industry is recovering from the pandemic faster than other segments, candidates have more open positions to fill. 

The number of posted tech jobs in the first half of 2021 has outstripped compared to the 2019 level in the US. There were almost 190,000 new tech positions in 2021, according to Janco Associates, an IT employment consultancy agency. However, for candidates with more open positions in the same period in 2020, the number of new openings reached 90,200.

As a result, businesses struggle to find relevant candidates and resort to a salary increase as an actionable tactic to retain and attract top talent. For instance, Hired indicates that average salaries for top tech roles continue to grow in the primary engineering hubs. As of 2020, they increased by 5% in the Bay Area and 3% in New York alone. 

During uncertain times, the tech labor market has adapted to the most in-demand skills for software developers. Due to a massive shift to remote work and reliance on cloud technologies, the majority of businesses plan to adjust investments around work-from-home specialists upskill their employees:

Planned changes to investments in IT staffing worldwide in 2021
Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1106203/planned-changes-investments-it-staffing/

The shift to remote work is one of the factors that has shaped the IT hiring market in 2020 and 2021. HR specialists now find relevant candidates to fill web development, cybersecurity, and compliance roles. The report mentioned above conducted by Hired also says Redux.js, Google Cloud, AWS, and React.js as the most requested skills. As for programming languages, Go and Scala experienced a surge of interview requests in 2020.

But how long does it take to fill a position in the IT industry? According to a new study provided by LinkedIn, it takes 44 days to hire a specialist in the Information Technology industry on this platform. Another study cited by HRDrive, states that hiring for development roles is 43 days for large companies. Smaller businesses can expect to wait almost 30 days to have a job offer accepted.

Finding the right developer becomes a challenge, so many companies opt for resource and staff augmentation. This option enables the employer to access a wide array of business advantages which we will further tackle in the article. Meanwhile, let’s get down to the basics of this form of cooperation with the outsourcing service provider.

What is Staff Augmentation?

IT resource augmentation is one of the outsourcing types that helps employers fill open tech positions using an external talent pool of the particular vendor. It allows businesses to expand the knowledge and skills of the internal team with additional tech capabilities.

This staff augmentation definition implies that it is necessary to assess the scarcity of skills in the existing staff and then determine which additional specialists to source and recruit. As for the hiring process, these specialists are employed through a staff augmentation company responsible for every legal, operational, and HR procedure. 

Roughly speaking, this form of cooperation frees the client from the necessity of headhunting. But in the end, they receive quality employees that are dedicated to the project and motivated to deliver it on time, just like an in-house team. The exception is that the vendor takes overall organizational and administrative hassles instead of the client.

Yes, the vendor supplies specialists but doesn’t deal with the project’s technical and business decisions. It is the talent resource you get as a result of the collaboration. Do you face a tech talent shortage in your local labor market? Do you figure out that the recruitment will take an eternity? That’s where the staff augmentation meaning is hidden:

  • it lets you invest in resources rather than obtaining the service;
  • it helps to extend the team quickly;
  • it helps to streamline sourcing, hiring, and recruiting;
  • it gives access to highly-skilled, motivated, and talented people.

Speak with IT staff augmentation professionals to learn more about the ins and outs of this form of cooperation.

Benefits of Staff Augmentation

  1. Cost-efficiency. Staff augmentation model is a profitable alternative to in-house hiring as it enables you to cut costs on employing and retaining internal specialists. As the vendor is responsible for arranging the office space, its infrastructure, and other administrative issues, you only have to pay for the result of the work of their specialists. By the way, we’ve already calculated how much the clients can save when opting for outstaffing instead of hiring in-house. Read on this piece to understand the cost structure and its efficiency.
  2. Saved time. With staff augmentation, you can fill the gaps in your current team in less time. Especially when it comes to hard-to-fill or temporary positions, IT resource augmentation lets you leverage an extensive talent pool of the offshore region. Even if you require highly-demanding roles on a per-project basis, this model offers the most attractive terms of cooperation.
  3. Flexibility. The model gives the flexibility to increase or decrease the size of your staff as per ongoing needs. When the workload increases, you can augment your team with relevant specialists to avoid overtime. On the other hand, the resource augmentation model helps avoid overstaffing your in-house team when there is no need to handle vast amounts of work.
  4. Productivity and dedication. When entrusting the project to external software developers, the clients get exclusive access to competent specialists with expertise. As a result, they can quickly understand business requirements and translate them into working software. Besides, they remain 100% focused on a particular project without switching attention to other projects and tasks.

Common Challenges of IT Staff Augmentation and How to Address them

Communication hurdles and language gaps

Although the remote-first character of work has become a new normal in tech fields, lack of efficient communication can hinder productivity and the end product’s quality. Moreover, virtual meet-ups can become a phantom menace if the chosen service provider lacks professional communication skills. 

The level of English proficiency of your augmented team is also one of the crucial factors to consider. For example, if IT staff has trouble communicating project issues to the client, it can take longer to resolve them. Other challenges may arise when there is a lack of clear communication between the parties. As a result, clients may question the value of staff augmentation services and seek other ways to complete the project. 

How can clients address that challenge?

  • check the English proficiency skills of the team members before signing a contract;
  • set up a procedure for answering emails, messages, and calls with a clear time frame;
  • agree on collaboration tools for consistent communication and management: Jira, Slack, Zoom, Github;
  • conduct regular reviews of the work done by an augmented team.

Misalignment of expectations

One of the things that can go wrong with software development staff augmentation is conflicting expectations of the two teams: in-house and external. As a result, one of them can have a somewhat different understanding of what the end product is going to look like. You might have guessed which one we mean by saying so. Yes, an augmented team is usually to blame for that.

How can clients address that challenge?

  • provide clear documentation;
  • share project vision from the project’s start;
  • review and enhance the documentation at daily meetings;
  • check-in with the remote team regularly to ensure that it is progressing in the right direction.

Security and data privacy concerns

We can’t but define staff augmentation as a way to engage external specialists in the internal procedures of a particular company. But what happens if the service provider fails to meet stringent security requirements or offers to sign a poorly assembled NDA? What if the data is compromised or shared with third parties without your permission?

How can clients address those challenges?

  • choose a reliable partner that complies with security standards or industry-specific regulations (PCI DSS, HIPAA);
  • set clear data protection rules;
  • include penalties in case of non-compliance in the contract;
  • conduct regular security audits with your team.

Inconsistent knowledge transfer

Lack of a well-organized procedure for sharing knowledge assets can drain the resources at your disposal. It can gradually become a source of discontent for both staff augmentation collaboration. When knowledge sharing is not a part of a well-thought strategy, it can quickly fail and cause a lot of repetitive and manual work.

How can clients address that challenge?

  • define valid items that should be transferred at each stage;
  • assign responsible people for managing knowledge passing;
  • set the formal procedure for assessing the results;
  • make all the required tech documentation available for everyone concerned.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve answered the question: “what does staff augmentation mean?” and described its essence, advantages, and prospective challenges. Indeed, one does not simply opt for this model without weighing all the factors. It is also necessary to choose the right service provider to solve particular issues for your case.

With 10+ years of experience in the European and US IT markets, we know how to tackle various tech and business challenges. We’ve developed a proven approach to sourcing, recruiting, and retaining suitable candidates through the years. 

Each of the developers, designers, or other specialists we supply has the right skills and experience to satisfy any project requirements. We don’t stop the recruiting process until we are sure that we’ve found the right match. But above all, we strive to remain a valuable partner after the work on each project gets started. 

Here’s why IT staff augmentation with Geomotiv is the right option:

  • proven to recruit processes that accelerate time-to-hire and bring to the table quality candidates;
  • a rigorous candidate testing process;
  • constant access to a wide range of skilled specialists with proven expertise;
  • proficiency in modern technologies to meet any gap in your in-house teams;
  • seamless knowledge transfer;
  • compliance with stringent security requirements;
  • ease of scaling-up at any stage of the project;
  • established remote work procedures;
  • transparent reporting process;
  • regular communication process.

Contact our outsourcing experts to share your project’s vision, and we will get back to you shortly with a personalized offering.

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